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25
4.6 out of 5 stars
Mixed Up
Format: Audio CDChange
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Unlike most Cure fans, I heard these extended versions before the originals. The Cure's music has here been adapted for the dancefloor without sacrificing its rock appeal in the process. The music is spacious, atmospheric and emotionally compelling, far more than just a dance rhythm added to the mix. In fact, when I compare these magnificent versions of Pictures Of You, Inbetween Days and Close To Me to the originals, they sound almost flat and one-dimensional. I am sure most Cure fans would disagree, but for me these extended mixes have an added charm and flow. The dance rhythms provide a hypnotic twist and do not in any way detract from the profundity of The Cure's music. Mixed Up is definitely my favourite Cure album.
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36 of 43 people found the following review helpful
on 2 July 2002
5 of the songs (which is almost HALF of the album kids!) have the subtitle of "Extended Mix" in brackets next to the songs title: Lullaby, Fascination Street, Lovesong, Pictures Of You (which fair enough is a dub version) and Hot Hot Hot. All of these, excepting Pictures Of You, do exactly what it says on the tin - they are just extended versions of the songs.
This sort of works with Lullaby (or you could always listen to the original and press the repeat button...), doesn't work at all for Lovesong (it's too "straight" a song to warrant long instrumental passages and simply has no excitement in this format), and Hot Hot Hot is also a bit lifeless unless you really do want to hear individual guitar lines playing for a minute at a time.
Pictures Of You is an interesting one as it's a full on Jamaican-dub version, while maintaining the guitars of the original. It's interesting because it's different, but ultimately a bit daft if you think about it for too long !!
Fascination Street is the one extended version that really works well. This is a testament really to how good the original version is. The original is so good that's it's always a shame when it ends, so what better a thing to do than have a really long version of it ! The majority of Cure fans (myself included) look on this extended mix to be superior and now consider it to be the definitive version, much the same as how many Star Wars fans think the Special Editions are better than the originals (I don't !).
OK then, now for the REAL remixes:
Close To Me was once a fast paced almost dance track, now it's a lazy, spaced out under a tree, mellow groove. This comes courtesy of Happy Monday's producer Paul Oakenfold and retains the feel of said band, very much in the style of Step On.
The Walk is a bit of a lie as again it isn't a remix as such. The band had lost the original master tapes for this song (and A Forest) so they ended up re-recording both. This is a good thing as the original version is sounding a bit dated these days (it was released 7 days after New Order's Blue Monday which is frightening given that the "bass" sequencer parts are virtually identical on both songs). I would have preferred to have seen an identical re-recording of this song, rather than another extended version (note to The Cure: not all remixes have to be extended versions long). As it is, this song is guilty of the same thing as most of the others. Some of the instrumental sections find you switching off your brain until the vocals come back in.
A Forest (the other re-recording) is really the highlight of this album. This is only slightly longer than the original (which is brilliant but terribly dated in sound), but that's only because of the long fade-out, so it more or less follows the original in structure at least. The original starts off with a simple four note intro keyboard intro and that's how this version starts. There is a difference though. Where the original had just one note held down at a time, this version has the same notes, but they are stabbed at rather than held down. This is extremely dancey and very brilliant. You really have to compare the two to appreciate the difference. Other than that there isn't a great deal of difference other than it's a nice meaty update of what was already a great song.
The Caterpillar is a song that should never have been remixed. It's a purely accoustic folk ditty, so to hear all of these crap electronic sounds over the top of it is purely evil. It is truly awful (oh that rubbish drum machine...grrr) and alongside the following song, Inbetween Days, is the joint lowest moment on the whole album.
The above comments apply for Inbetween Days, although it does have one interesting note which may be of historical interest to Madonna or All Saints fans. It's remixed by William Orbit (who essentially wrote Madonna's Frozen and All Saints Pure Shores and Black Coffee) and you can hear those songs in the beeping and blooping of this song, although essentially it is utter rubbish.
The last song is Never Enough, which is the obligatory new song that every compilation album simply "must" have these days.
Never Enough is pretty much The Cure's take on Jimi Hendrix, especially Purple Haze, and it must be said that the joint guitar work of vocalist Robert Smith and guitarist Porl Thompson really is outstanding (the band were a 4-piece when they recorded this, despite the presence of newcomer and 2nd guitarist Perry Bamonte in the video for the single). A lot of it sounds like a jam and completely unplanned, which makes it's appearance on a remix album all the stranger. But like I said, there was most likely a marketing concept behind this.
I do recommend this album for purchase, despite the couple of well dodgy mixes, but I would suggest that you put it at the bottom of your Cure wishlist and buy all of their proper studio albums first.
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I'm a fairly noncommittal fan of The Cure in the sense that I don't own every album, and their output has been patchy post 1992's Wish. However I can strongly recommend this prima facie "for the fans only" release. To cut to the chase, it has my favourite version of any track released ever, by anyone - the fantastic, and largely unknown Tree Mix of A Forest, a great single in it's own right, but here exalted to mythical status in my opinion. But, starting from the top, we begin with Lullaby, a perfectly acceptable slow-burn opener which does eventually grow and develop into a thing of beauty. Lovely melodic lines throughout and juducious production. Still, Smith's barely audible vocal seems to add little to what is effectively a gentle instrumental. By the way, it's not a dance mix, indeed most of these mixes aren't. Close To Me follows an auspicious start but I find little of interest in this track. The unavoidable and hypnotic bounce in the single version is absent on this mix. It's solid enough but it just doesn't work for me. Track three really ups the ante though and sets a new highwater mark. Fascination Street is dark, brooding, unsettling, and features some terrific audio design - an incredible undercurrent of bass, cascading guitar lines and a ostensibly simple but brilliant build-up that "splinters" out and creates a really filmic feel to the proceedings. Robert Smith sounds in fine form here and suitably echoey too. Track four, A Walk is another good track, arguably an improvement over the original but I feel it could have been brilliant in better hands. A nice electro feel and up-tempo but it doesn't cut it straight after Fascination Street. Lovesong is an oddity here; it sounds nothing like a remix, but because the song itself is one of their best, it doesn't really matter too much. It also serves a a contrast to what in many people's opinion, including myself, is the real highlight of this album - the Tree Mix of A Forest. To say this track bristles with energy, is incredibly filmic and lush, and without a hair out of place is to be somewhat understated. It's just fantastic and I honestly put it in the same box as Blue Monday or the Pump Mix of Depeche Mode's Personal Jesus -seven minutes of electronic nirvana. The opening use of the electronic stabs then added to by layer upon layer of carefully proportioned instrumentation is in some ways a traditional remix technique but here it just seems the remixer worked them all beautifully together. There's no wasted middle section, no drawn out pointless filler material, this track needs to pulsate from start to end and it does magnificently. Always ambient and atmospheric, with melodies shooting back and forth, it's a real alternative to the outstanding original version. I defy anyone to have not been affected in some way by the time Smith is singing "again and again" for what seems an eternity. The way the brooding background lifts this vocal section and the guitars spill out afterwards has sent shivers down my spine for the last 17 years. I think it's probably remained largely invisible because purer, more indie-fied devotees of The Cure would possibly shun it for being too electronic. The fact that it's 236 times better than Never Enough seems to escape them. Moving on to Pictures Of You, a likeable twist on the base version. Once again we have a mix replete with nice refrains and beautiful use of showery glistening samples. Smith sounds pretty good again too. Hot Hot Hot!!! is not one of my favourite Cure tracks but it's got a nice bassline and a much more effective groove than Close To Me for example. The Caterpillar takes us to nine on the tracklisting and sounds fairly experimental and fun. It doesn't really grab you but it's nicely spacious and soft in feel and deserves a few plays. Inbetween Days is a significant departure from the single version. I'd argue the single version is one of the best singles from any band in the last 30 years personally, but this remix is OK to good, is sturdy enough, but once again, as for so many remixes, it loses much of that 7" energy and compactness. But at three and half minutes it briefly does something interesting I might add and fizzes up a bit. Right at the last we have Never Enough, already mentioned. I don't dislike it intensely, but it sounds a bit jumbled and something Jimi Hendrix would have done a better job of. It's not really my style and it's not electro. Overall, this album has more than enough (no pun intended) charm and appeal for regular Cure fans and electro / dance bods anywhere. Just give A Forest a few listens, an absolute old skool barnstormer.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 6 August 2008
I love this remix album. I had it on tape back in 1990/91 and pretty much wore it out. I bought it at the time for the Paul Oakenfold mix of Close To Me and because I liked the tracks "Lullaby" and "Lovesong". I've grown to love the other mixes too - particularly "The Walk". Sadly though, "Why Can't I Be You" is missing from the CD version. A crying shame.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Unlike most, I heard these versions before I heard the originals. Spacious, elegant and emotionally compelling, this music has been adapted for the dancefloor without sacrificing its rock appeal in the process. In fact, when I compare these magnificent versions of Pictures Of You, Inbetween Days and Close To Me to the originals, they sound almost flat and one-dimensional. I'm sure most Cure fans would disagree, but for me these extended mixes have an added charm and flow. The dance rhythms provide a hypnotic twist and do not in any way detract from the profundity of The Cure's music. Definitely my favourite Cure album.
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on 17 June 2013
If you like The Cure this is a great edition to your collection especially if your a fan of remixes of your favourite songs. Not all the remixes are of the same quality though but I guess it's all down to personal taste in the end.
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on 23 June 2014
I was just thinking about the old tunes I used to listen to and the cure sprang to mind I remembered I had this album on tape so I thought I would up date it not a bad chose
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on 22 May 2014
A very interesting album of remixes, some better than others and some go on a bit. A good album to have in your collection.
Good price and quick delivery.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 25 February 2015
The sound quality is awful, like it is in mono. Some of the mixes sound dated, in that they utilise the early nineties hip hop drum beat, unlistenable then, and an instant turn off now. As mixes go, this could have been so much better considering some of the mixes The Cure have at their disposal.
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on 16 November 2010
One of my favorite CD's to date. Must be the memories it serves up also, but a great line up of some of their best songs.
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